Whilst delays in the Annual Pay award timetables are sadly predictable, no-one could have imagined the issues also being faced during an escalating cost-of-living crisis.
Less than 2 weeks ago, I reported to you having written to both the Home Secretary and Chief Secretary to the Treasury in order to secure a much-needed conclusion to a pay review process which should have been resolved months ago.
Recent chaos within HM Govt has seen changes at both the Treasury and Home Office and as a consequence, I have had to re-direct NCOA concerns to the new incumbents. The political landscape is extremely unstable and this instability, including the search for a new party leader and Prime Minister may affect any impetus within HM Government to resolve the NCA pay settlement.
Worse still, although unlikely (today anyway), a snap election would see an unresolved Agency pay award suspended in time during any forced period of purdah. Whilst ‘business as usual’ activity at Civil Service level would permit work to continue to secure a pay award - there would be no ability through parliamentary activity to allow it to be implemented until after an election. At the NCOA we remain hopeful that this scenario is not one we will need to face if all parties work hard to deliver this year’s pay award - soon.
At Agency level, we continue to engage with your employer on pay and have outlined our concerns re the urgency that is now required.
A pay settlement now, is critical to help NCOA members, by providing some financial respite from the cost-of-living crisis. We have also encouraged the NCA to consider some additional support beyond any pay review process,
- All NCA Officers in Grades 1-6, receive 1hr ‘wellbeing’ flexi-time each week. This will be recorded on resource link, with the option for officers to accrue and take as a block of 4 hours monthly. This reward has been adopted by some Police Forces and forms a vital part of their wellbeing strategy.
- The Agency implement an incremental 1-day A/L increase for all new joiners in their first 5 years following recruitment. At present the Agency uplifts Annual leave entitlement by 5 days in one go after 5 years’ service has been reached. This proposal will incentivise retention for new joiners.
- Officers who are currently in roles which attract Spot Rate (SR) pay should be able to retain SR pay when they move on transfer to any Standard Pay range role. This proposal will encourage movement across the commands and help ensure pay reform is maintained.
- G3 officers on the SR pay range should be permitted to claim overtime in line with current NCA operating procedures, applicable to all other officers G6 to G3. This proposal will help remove the unintended promotion inhibitor, which currently exists at this grade.
- That the Northern Ireland Paramilitary Crime Taskforce (PCTF) Allowance is increased by 5%. This proposal will ensure that this niche NCA allowance keeping pace with its Northern Ireland Transitional Allowance equivalent.
- That the Agency carefully considers and re-evaluates how it currently distributes some of the existing non-consolidated pay budgets - which are either under utilised or not readily accessed through lack of wider awareness. e.g., Honoraria payments.
We have also insisted that the Agency ensure that current overtime policies and operating procedures are brought to the attention of all managers with unambiguous guidance that it applies to all roles G6 - G3 (with the notable exception of a small number of SR G3 roles). To be clear, no NCA directorate or business area, is exempt from these policies and procedures.
From our perspective, I am able to report that I have recently secured the support of the National Executive Committee to introduce an NCOA hardship fund to help NCOA members and their families who need it most. Whilst most, if not all members are feeling the financial pinch, I’m sad to say that a number of your colleagues are now genuinely struggling to pay their bills in the face of immense and unrelenting financial pressure.
As you might expect, requests for support from the NCOA hardship fund will be considered on a case-by-case basis and there are some control measures in place to ensure that we are diligently considering and helping those who genuinely need our help. If you think we might be able to help you, please contact us in total confidence and we will consider what support we can give you at this difficult time. Our reps will be provided with information to help guide you through the process but if you would rather come direct to us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Boon - NCOA General Secretary